No Name Bacon – a review

Lordy, it must have been 3 weeks ago when Chilebrown of Mad Meat Genius gifted me more than a few pounds of No Name Bacon. It wasn’t long after when he posted his review of No Name Bacon. He and Ms. Goofy are a machine, they can get it done. I’m not a machine, I’m lucky to find clean underwear and get my wagon gassed up on a weekly basis.
After going through 2 pounds ourselves here at Meathenge Labs and 1 pound to my sister and husband Meathead, we’re giving the No Name Meat Company more than a few thumbs up.
It’s a good, solid commodity bacon. Good fat to meat ratio, great smoke flavor while cooking, good smoke flavor for eating, a nice semi-low sugar content with an easy finish.
If you see it, and want good bacon, buy it. This bacon is Meathenge Approved.
xo, Biggles

Happy Hens Farm – From Petaluma to the Berkeley Farmer’s Market

I haven’t been to the Berkeley Farmer’s Market in quite some time, been busy and very well distracted. Had a few moments to myself this morning and headed out with some scrilla, a bag and an aching in my heart.
Check out those eggs !!! I spied them at Highland Hills’ stall, along with some badass whole chickens. These ain’t your Feel Good Organic eggs or chickens, these are the real deal budro. I paid dearly for them, but I couldn’t resist, I had to have. I can hardly wait!
I got a lot more, you’ll have to wait and see.
xo, Biggles
Happy Hens Farm
P.O. Box 4468
Petaluma, CA 94955

No image required

Yow, been really busy, can you tell?
Early Saturday morning I found myself making coffee, quiet house, sun not quite up yet. All that could be heard were my feet across the creaky old floor and some clanking of dishes. With the kitchen door open to the outside, crisp bay air was flowing through the house with glee.
Oh boy, I can hardly wait for that first cup!
No half and half, oh well. Chores & coffee, the day was looking up. I set my cup on the butcher block table to the right of the stove. This table houses large jars of wooden and shiny metal implements, salt pig and a scattering of items that either need washing or putting away. On the wall at the back of the table are at least a dozen kitchen knives and 4 sharpening steels, looks cool and very functional. Above, is an open cabinet filled with boxes of cocoa, oatmeal, coffee supplies, all kinds of kitchenny stuff. This, is my command center.
I stand at this table and go for that last glug of coffee. You know the one? The last slam of goodness that signals the next step in the day. The one that sends you in to overdrive, inspiration to get your day on!
GLUG, … hiccup, burp, COUGH. All at the exact same moment.
Normally, it’s not such a big deal. Gross, I’ll admit. But with a mouthful of black coffee? That’s right, I got a 3.5′ cone of black coffee spewed over all. Up in the cabinet, covered the knives & steels and whatever was on the surface of the little table was covered.
If that wasn’t bad enough, it began to drip. Yup, drip. So, not only now was everything splattered, but it was now running down the wall, down the blades, down the wooden spatulas and in to the jars and gently soaking in to my kosher salt.
Bring it on Monday, I can totally kick your ass.

It’s a Champion – Juicer that is!

Biggles spent the workday at his computer, didn’t pull away. He’d finally figured out a few things while he was htmmelling and was running late to get out of there. Off went the two 21″ tube monitors, camera bag in hand and off he flew. Out and down the hallway, keep going and make a left through the machine shop. Ever so quietly he tossed the deadbolt to the side and slipped out in to daylight. Biggles cursed, “Owie, that orb burns.” As he approached his shiny blue wagon, he noticed something huge and mechanical on the ground at the driver’s door.
Creepy E said, “Here’s your juicer, foo.”

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Wild Boar Bacon Tasting – Oh happy day !!!

The boar bacon is the one in the center there. It isn’t a great image, I took this in someone else’s kitchen on the fly.
Given the sheer volume of bacon that Chilebrown and I have on hand, we thought maybe it would be good to sit down and have a taste. The catalyst for this particular meeting was a delivery of yet another kind of bacon, Wild Boar Bacon.
It’s just that, belly bacon taken from a wild pig. I’ve always wanted to go boar hunting with someone. George used to do that while he was still in California. I asked him about tagging along one day, I really wanted to go. He said I was welcome, but I had to have a side-arm. Those wild boards are huge and can take you down in a second. That means I had to have a good sized pistol with me, one with real bullets. There are many things I can do well and being safe with something with bullets isn’t one of them. I’d come back with a hole in my foot or without one of my digits. It doesn’t scare me, it’s just a fact. Armed with this knowledge, I let others do my wild pig killin’ for me. I needs me fangers.
The wild boar came in a slab, it needed to be sliced. The texture of this bacon was wiggly. The meat was loose, not firm like standard belly bacon. The smell was light and fresh, not heavy in cure or smoke. Not gamey. Along with the wild bacon, we did Fatted Calf’s belly bacon and Morants Canadian Bacon. 3 bacons for the 2 Meat Brothers.
Each bacon got its own pan. Since wild piggies get to run around, the bacon is quite lean with a high meat to fat ratio. We could have added a little oil to the pan. All 3 cooked up just fine. The Canadian bacon was too salty and we left it for CB’s pot of chile he was going to make that day. Fatted Calf’s bacon was a fine contender, but this was Taylor’s milder version. The smoke was light, the cure was even and the cut was a standard belly cut. There were no huge wangly country slices in there with rinds and heavy smoke action.
The boar bacon had a light smoke, light cure and had the texture of a chewy beef roast. Hence, wiggly meat. It wasn’t a bad chewy, it gave way pretty quickly. But I don’t think we expected the heavy, chewy texture of the pork belly. Both CB and I enjoyed it immensely. I would absolutely love to put slices of this in my smoker for a few hours, oh yes. All in all I’d like to see more of this Wild Boar Bacon. The possibilities for it should be quite huge. I’d like to see a far heavier smoke to it along with a cure that’s on the sweet side. Just a tad mind you, just a bit. What a way to start a Saturday morning !!!

Eat your breakfast hunney, it’s the most important meal of the day.

Blah blah and double blah. I never believed that crap and neither did you. We’re 22 right? Hit the clubs all weekend, wind up in 3 different beds and get to work Monday morning at 7am with your shades on and you’re doing fine. Right? Riiight. You can do that for only so many years before your grandmother’s advice starts to kick in. Then a visit to the doctor and he takes one look at you and says, “Do you eat breakfast?”

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Sunday Morning Breakfast Includes Homemade Bacon

How do you know you’ve made it in life? When you have friends that share their homemade bacon. The image above there is Paul “Chile” Brown’s first attempt at shoulder bacon. You remember him don’t you? He’s the one that drove to Oregon just to pick up a load of world class bacon. He’s been talking about making his own for quite some time and a handful of weeks ago, he gathered the info and ingredients to make it go. Here’s the recipe and cure he used, Buckboard Bacon Cure. It’s pretty straight forward, get your meat, rub cure on it, set it to rest in a 40 degree fridge for 10 days or so. Soak and rinse the sucker to get the cure off and out, smoke. While I dearly love belly bacon, I’m enjoying the shoulder bacon more often these days. Why? More meat.
How does it taste? Here’s how that went. I decided not to mention anything about the bacon, just serve it to family and see what they say. This way I am assured of an honest response. Uncle Steph showed up early, he was to watch over the kids for the day, so we had 3 adults here all real hungry. I fried it gently in a cast iron skillet until just barely brown, served with scrambled eggs n’ toast. Both Mama and Steph remarked that the ham was really quite good and where did I get it. “Damned fine”, is how I believe it was phrased. And to be honest with you, it does sit on the Ham side. I suppose the difference between ham and bacon is that ham is traditionally from the hind legs of the piggy. So, this is considered bacon. In any case, the texture was firm and pulled apart nicely. The saltiness (present but not overpowering) hit you first, then it was off to the sweetness and finally some smoky love. All three of us confirmed this batch of homemade shoulder bacon a success. What to improve upon? For me, I like a deeper, firmer smoke. Nothing bitter, but more pronounced.
Not bad for a first run, eh?

Praise the Tamal Gods !!!

Here we find out plucky hero on Saturday morning getting things done so he can make it to the market on time. He realizes with a start he hasn’t had breakfast yet, oh no. Need to keep the blood sugar on an even keel, that bad ol’ gout. The cafeteria white cereal bowl is set carefully down and the yummy flax cereal makes it’s way slowly in to the bowl. He’s a caring man. He turns, notices fresh strawberries. In they go. His brows raise, the man is interested now. Off to the fridge for the lovely 1% cow’s gift … when … at the door is a knock. A kind knock. Our hero looks outside only to see a little girl in a purple fuzzy coat he doesn’t recognize. “Who could this be at 8:45 in the morning?” Wonders our hero.
Why, it’s Mr. Tamale Man!
I kid you not. This kind gentleman and his daughter had a huge steamer pot in a laundry cart and were making the rounds. Chicken & Pork Tamales at 8 in the morning, $1.50 a piece !!! I got 2 pork and 2 chicken. Gout or no, I had me one pork tamale, it was too much. The masa was textury and corny and moist. The filling was clearly good pork and red chile sauce. It had just enough zing to let you know it was there, perfect for breakfast. I would have liked a little more meat and a little more red sauce, but it was FINE and I would have paid another dollar for that anywhere else. That was HOME cookin’ there pal! What a great way to start the day. I am inspired and feeling fine. For now.
Xo Xo

New Years Breakfast – Egg-in-a-Hole

You bet it’s a little white trashy, but oh so yummy. I was up and ready for the day by 7:30 New Years Day and realized I had no breakfast meat. Kinda sucks, but one tries to be big about such things. We’re adults right? You bet. I stuck my nose into the Cheerios box, a few cabinets and then the fridge. Sure I could have had a nice cheese omelette with some chives er something. Then it hit me, if you don’t have breakfast meat, HAVE AN EGG-IN-A-HOLE !!!! That, salt & pepper with hot sauce and I’m set ’till noon.
Happy New Year ya’ll.

Brats & Breakfast and I ain’t so sure.

Yum, one of my favorite breakfasts. Egg in a hole with a side of sausage. The sausage is something new I found at the local grocery. I figure it is always worth at least one try. And the new brats weren’t so bad, but they weren’t that great either.
Over the last six months our local Raley’s has pumped up their sausage selection. I find it interesting with today’s low fat diets, then I giggle with excitement digging for something new to try. This time I noticed Johnsonville has something called Beer & Brats – with real Wisconsen Beer. Personally I don’t believe that is something anyone should brag about, let alone put on a label. Another strike against them are the fact they are pre-cooked. I know why they’re doing it. They last longer for the grocer and there is lower chance of getting a bad hunk of meat. But they just don’t thrill me.
As you can see they cook up nice looking, along with the white onions and eggyhole. I suppose they were okay, but I probably won’t buy them again.